On paper, Week 9 in the AAC looked like a lot of fun. It certainly lived up to its billing across the board and then some with a pair of upsets and a few scares for the conference’s top-ranked teams.
This week does not present the same intrigue, but college football has a funny way of finding new ways to surprise its fans.
Houston and South Florida, the No. 1- and 2 teams in our AAC power rankings, are taking the week off. That leaves a rather sizable hole in this weekend’s lineup; that said, it gives loyal AAC viewers an opportunity to check out the rest of the conference’s contenders as we gear up for a crucial four-week stretch leading up to the championship game and bowl season.
Here are all six AAC games for Week 10, ranked by importance and watchability:
6. Tulane (3-5, 0-4) at UCF (4-4, 2-2) — Saturday, Nov. 5, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
This game may not be all that intriguing to the average college football fan and ranks No. 6 in this week’s lineup, but don’t tell that to UCF fans who need only two more wins in order to watch their team play a bowl game after dealing with a 12-loss season just one year ago. A win will make the Knights an easy candidate for postseason participation.
5. BYU (4-4) at Cincinnati (4-4, 1-4) — Saturday, Nov. 5, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBSSN)
Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville’s seat is already getting a little warm. Lose to BYU at home after a 1-4 start in conference play and the proverbial “hot seat” talk officially begins, as the Bearcats would all be all but guaranteed to spend the bowl season on the outside looking in.
4. Memphis (5-3, 2-2) at SMU (4-4, 2-2) — Saturday, Nov. 5, 4 p.m. ET (ESPNews)
Hey, SMU has won two games in a row! That hasn’t happened since 2013, and the Mustangs haven’t enjoyed a three-game winning streak since a 5-1 start in 2011. Memphis has made this a zero-contest series the last two meetings, clobbering SMU by 38 in 2014 and 63 last season, but an improbable win would give Chad Morris’ young squad a real good look at bowl eligibility — an accomplishment no one thought would be possible earlier this year.
3. Notre Dame (3-5) vs. Navy (5-2, 4-1) in Jacksonville — Saturday, Nov. 5, 11:30 a.m. ET (CBS)
Notre Dame basically enters this game on crutches (literally and metaphorically). Granted it will come at some point this season no matter what, but a win tomorrow would make the Midshipmen bowl eligible for the 13th time in 14 years while putting them in a position to finish with double-digit wins for the second year and the fifth time in the program’s 123-year history.
2. Temple (6-3, 4-1) at UConn (3-6, 1-5) — Friday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Forget that UConn fell to last place in our latest power rankings after getting blown out by East Carolina. This is all about Temple, which just has to win its next three games — at UConn, at Tulane, vs. ECU — to repeat as the AAC East champion. Any slip-up and the division could end up going to South Florida.
1. East Carolina (3-5, 1-4) at Tulsa (6-2, 3-1) — Saturday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m. ET (ESPNews)
With an over/under set at 75 points, you can expect a shootout in Skelly Field this Saturday night. East Carolina is feeling pretty good after a 41-3 win over UConn last week where it totaled 430 yards, 25 first downs and forced three turnovers. But Tulsa is scoring 47.7 points per game against teams not named Ohio State (including a 59-point performance versus Memphis last week) and is very much in contention for the AAC West.